A 17-year-old race car driver was taken to hospital after her vehicle flew off the tracks and crashed in a Formula 3 Grand Prix in Macau on Sunday (Nov 18). Four others were also hurt but their injuries were less serious.
The German driver, Sophia Floersch, was confirmed by race organisers to have been taken to the hospital in a conscious state, said motor racing news website Motorsport.com.
A picture of an official medical report was posted on Twitter by Sophia’s team Van Amersfoort Racing, stating she had a spinal fracture and had been admitted to Conde S. Januario General Hospital for observation.
Sophia tweeted at 7.46pm on Sunday: “Just wanted to let everybody know that I am fine but will be going into surgery tomorrow morning.”
Videos of the accident posted online show race cars negotiating a right turn when Sophia's car suddenly hurtles in the air above the tracks, strikes another car driven by Sho Tsuboi, flies over the race barriers and crashes into the fencing behind them.
Moments earlier, she lost control of her car and it hit the inside wall of the track, news.com.au reported.
A speed trap near the accident showed that her car was going at 276.2kmh.
Sophia is seen as one of the up-and-coming stars in motorsports, and had previously raced in Formula 4, an open-wheel racing car category for junior drivers, reported English tabloid The Sun. This year, she began participating in Formula 3, which is regarded by many as a major stepping stone for Formula 1 hopefuls.
Tsuboi, two photographers and one marshal, who were also involved in the accident, were taken conscious to the hospital. Tsuboi suffered lumbar pain and will undergo further examination. Marshal Chan Cha In had a face laceration, an abrasion to the upper abdominal wall and a fractured jaw. Photographer Chan Weng Wang suffered a liver laceration, while photographer Minami Hiroyuki had a concussion.
Former F1 driver Jenson Button said on Twitter that he was sorry to hear about Sophia’s injuries, but added that, looking at the “horrific accident” she had, “it could have been so much worse”.
The fencing of the race track was repaired and, after a delay of over an hour, the race was restarted.
This was the second stop in the race, which had been halted earlier due to a multiple car pile-up.